One time, I was in my backyard talking to a man who was helping me with my landscaping. It was the middle of winter and the grass was very brown. It looked as if it was totally dead. I commented to the man about how bad the grass looked and how dead it was. He said, "Well, Joel, it doesn't look very good now but the truth is the grass is not dead, it's just not in season. In the springtime, this same grass will be just as lush and green as it can be." Sure enough, just a few months later that same brown, dry grass was a gorgeous bright green, filled with life and vitality.
I've found that life works the same way. Sometimes our circumstances look dead. It may look like a dream is dead, a relationship is dead, or a promise is dead. But you have to realize it may just be that it's not in season. It may be that it'll come back around in a new season. We can't give up just because things don't look the way we want them to in the season we are in. We have to dig our heels in and look with our eyes of faith to the new season that is on the horizon.
What am I saying? Just because something looks dead, don't write it off. Our God is a God of new beginnings. When we go through disappointments or setbacks, instead of getting down and discouraged or giving up, choose to have the attitude, "Even though it doesn't look good, I know the truth. It's not really dead; it's just not in season. I'm in wintertime, but I know springtime is coming. So I'm going to lift up my head and get ready for the new things God is about to do." Friend, if you'll keep that attitude of faith you will receive strength to make it through to the next season and it won't be long until those dreams and desires will flourish in every area of your life!
God recently allowed me to see Jesus through the eyes of someone seeing Him for the first time. Having the advantage of knowing how the story ends, we can easily forget the cost of our redemption and the love of our Savior.
Every year we attend a local church pageant at Christmas time, which tells the story of Jesus from His birth through His resurrection. It is a spectacular event, with live animals and hundreds of cast members in realistic costumes. The magi enter the huge auditorium on llamas from the rear, descending the steps in pomp and majesty. Roman soldiers look huge and menacing in their costumes and makeup.
Of all the years we have attended, one stands out indelibly in my heart. It was the year we took our then three-year-old granddaughter, Bailey, who loves Jesus. She was mesmerized throughout the entire play, not just watching, but involved as if she were a player. She watches as Joseph and Mary travel to the Inn and is thrilled when she sees the baby Jesus in His mother's arms.
When Jesus, on a young donkey, descends the steps from the back of the auditorium, depicting His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bailey was ecstatic. As he neared our aisle, Bailey began jumping up and down, screaming, "Jesus, Jesus! There's Jesus!" Not just saying the words but exclaiming them with every fiber of her being. She alternated between screaming his name and hugging us. "It's Jesus. Look!"
I thought she might actually pass out. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at Jesus through the eyes of a child in love with Him, seeing Him for the first time. How like the blind beggar screaming out in reckless abandon, "Jesus, Jesus!", afraid he might miss Him, not caring what others thought. (Mark 10:46-52)
This was so much fun.
Then came the arrest scene. On stage, the soldiers shoved and slapped Jesus as they moved Him from the Garden of Gesthemane to Pilate. Bailey responded as if she were in the crowd of women, with terror and anger. "Stop it!" she screamed. "Bad soldiers, stop it!" As I watched her reaction, I wished we had talked to her before the play. "Bailey it's OK. They are just pretending."
"They are hurting Jesus! Stop it!"
She stood in her seat reacting to each and every move. People around us at first smiled at her reaction, thinking "How cute!". Then they quit smiling and began watching her watch Him. In a most powerful scene, the soldiers lead Jesus carrying the cross down the steps of the auditorium from the back They were yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus, who was bloodied and beaten.
Bailey was now hysterical. "Stop it! Soldiers! Stop it," she screamed. She must have been wondering why all these people did nothing. She then began to cry instead of scream. "Jesus, Oh, Jesus!" People all around us began to weep as we all watch this devoted little disciple see her Jesus beaten and killed as those first century disciples had.
Going back and forth between her mother's lap and mine for comfort, she was distraught. I kept saying, "Bailey, it's OK. Jesus is going to be OK. These are just people pretending to be soldiers. She looked at me like I was crazy. In my lap, we talked through the cross and burial. "Watch, Bailey, watch for Jesus!"
The tomb began to tremble and lightening flashed as the stone rolled away. A Super Bowl touchdown cheer couldn't come close to matching this little one's reaction to the resurrection. "Jesus! He's OK. Mommy, it's Jesus!" I prayed that she wasn't going to be traumatized by this event, but that she would remember it. I shall never forget it. I shall never forget seeing Jesus's suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection through the eyes of an innocent child.
Following the pageant the actors all assembled in the foyer to be greeted by the audience. As we passed by some of the soldiers Bailey screamed out, "Bad soldier, don't you hurt Jesus." The actor who portrayed Jesus was some distance away surrounded by well-wishers and friends. Bailey broke away from us and ran toward him, wrapping herself around his legs, holding on for dear life. He hugged her and said, "Jesus loves you." He patted her to go away. She wouldn't let go. She kept clinging to Him, laughing and calling His name. She wasn't about to let go of her Jesus.
I think God in heaven stopped what ever was going on that day and made all the angels watch Bailey. "Now, look there! You see what I meant when I said, 'Of such is the kingdom of heaven?'"
Bailey's reaction should be our reaction every day. When we think of Him, who He is, what He did for us, and what He offers us, we have to say, how can we do anything less than worship Him?
Vooroordeel is die produk van 'n lui brein. Dis minagting sonder ondersoek. Jou eerste indrukke van iemand is onvolledig en dikwels onakkuraat. Moenie aanvaar jou intuïsie is altyd reg nie. Moenie blywende besluite maak gebaseer op beperkte insigte nie. Jou sukses in die lewe sal nadelig beïnvloed word deur vooroordeel, deur vrees of enige vorm van diskriminasie wat jou denke kan bederf. Jesus het nooit iemand se waarde bepaal op grond van hul ras, geslag, finansiële posisie of voorkoms nie. Hy was gemaklik in die teenwoordigheid van vissermanne en tollenaars. Hy was op sy gemak met ryk en arm. Hy het geweet elke mens wat Hy teëkom, het potensiaal en Hy het nooit op hulle neergesien as gevolg van hul verlede nie. Gebore uit 'n moeder wat 'n maagd was, het Hy geweet wat dit beteken om 'n twyfelagtige agtergrond te hê en die onderwerp van skindertonge te wees. Maar Hy het bo dit uitgestyg. Hy het die tradisie verbreek. Die Samaritane is as 'n laer klas mense beskou met wie die Jode nie durf praat het nie. Maar Jesus het. Inderdaad het Hy uit Sy pad gegaan om 'n Samaritaanse vrou te ontmoet wat vyf keer geskei was, en die verborgenhede van aanbidding met haar bespreek, wat haar lewe verander het. Toe Petrus, wat met vooroordeel geworstel het, gevra is om die evangelie aan die eerste groep heidene te verkondig, moes hy erken: 'Waarlik, ek begryp nou eers dat God nie onderskeid maak nie.' Op daardie dag het God werk gemaak van sommige van Petrus se diep-gesetelde vooroordele. Hy kan ook van joune werk maak! As 'God die wêreld so lief gehad het', maar jy het nie, hoe kan jy daarop aanspraak maak om 'goddelik' te wees?
Sielskos: Hosea 11-14; Matt 27:27-32; Ps 25:8-15; Spr 10:1
For what? You didn't do anything wrong.
I'm sorry because you get hurt because of me. Whenever I made a mistake, you're always there to erase it. But as you make my mistakes vanish, you lose a part of yourself. You get smaller and smaller each time.
That's true. But I don't really mind. You see, I was made to do this. I was made to help you whenever you do something wrong. Even though one day, I know I'll be gone and you'll replace me with a new one, I'm actually happy with my job. So please, stop worrying. I hate seeing you sad.
I found this conversation between the pencil and the eraser very inspirational. Parents are like the eraser whereas their children are the pencil. They're always there for their children, cleaning up their mistakes. Sometimes along the way, they get hurt, and become smaller / older, and eventually pass on. Though their children will eventually find someone new (spouse), but parents are still happy with what they do for their children, and will always hate seeing their precious ones worrying, or sad.
All my life, I've been the pencil. And it pains me to see the eraser that is my parents getting smaller and smaller each day. For I know that one day, all that I'm left with would be eraser shavings and memories of what I used to have.
This is to all the parents out there.
Come, let's worship him and bow down. Let's kneel before the LORD who made us. Psa 95:6
Worship. In two thousand years we haven't worked out the kinks. We still struggle for the right words in prayer. We still fumble over Scripture. We don't know when to kneel. We don't know when to stand. We don't know how to pray.
Worship is a daunting task.
For that reason, God gave us the Psalms—a praise book for God's people… This collection of hymns and petitions are strung together by one thread—a heart hungry for God.
Some are defiant. Others are reverent. Some are to be sung. Others are to be prayed. Some are intensely personal. Others are written as if the whole world would use them …
The very variety should remind us that worship is personal. No secret formula exists. What moves you may stymie another. Each worships differently. But each should worship.
The Inspirational Study Bible (Max Lucado)
LORD and my Father in the name of Jesus. I sing for joy to You my strength.
I shout joyfully to the LORD of Host (Ps 81:1).
I sing because of the victory through Jesus Christ, for whoever born of Him is an over-comer (1John 5:4) and
Overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us (Rom 8:37).
He says I am the first and the Last
And there’s no God beside Me (Isa 44:6).
Neither will there be any Rock beside Me (Isa 44:8).
Victoriously He reigns, Our Jehova Nissi (Exo 17:15).
Say to those with anxious heart
Take courage, fear nor
Behold, your God will fight for you and keep you safe (Ps 35:4).
He said upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it (Matt 16:15).
Just look to the Rock from which you are hewn
And to the quary from which you were dug (Isa 51:1).
The corner stone which the builders rejected
Became the chief corner stone (Ps 118:22 or Matt 21:42 esp. Act 4:11).
Therefore, when you call in trouble, He will rescue you
Answer you in the hiding place of thunder (Ps 81:7).
He was faithful even to Moses in Exodus 17:6 when He said “Behold, I will stand before you there on
the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink”.
Build your house therefore on the Rock.
For when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow and the beat against that house,
It will not fall, for it would have been built upon the Rock (Matt 7:24-25).
Our Impregnable Rock (Isa 33:16) and everlasting Rock.
“and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ (1 Corinth 10:4).
Stay blessed in the good LORD
There was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.
One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.
"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.
"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily egrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn." He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves.
So it is in other dimensions. Those who choose to be at peace must help their neighbors to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.
The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.
Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm5:11
David was a mighty warrior, but he understood vulnerability. Precisely where you are the most vulnerable is the place where you need protection. You have to have a place of shelter. David knew his shelter was in the Lord.
The concept of refuge is a common theme in the Bible. A refuge is a place to rest, regroup, and feel safe. For many home is that kind of place, but ultimately stability and refuge lies in more than what a man can build for himself.
If you run to God, you are not running away from life. You are running through the storms of life with greater confidence, because your confidence is in the Lord. When you find your place of refuge in the Lord, you increase your joy. When you increase your joy, your strength increases.
When you run to the Lord, you are running through your problems.